Bloomsbury Summer School (text)

Bloomsbury Summer School

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Fascinated by ancient civilisations?

We offer anyone with any level of knowledge, inspiring short courses on ancient Egypt and other areas of the ancient world.

BSS in Egypt 2015

24th November 2015

The Mighty Ramessides: Egypt’s Nineteenth Dynasty in Focus

Course Director: Dr Stephen Harvey

2 – 9 November 2015

A NEW course taught mostly in Luxor with daily lectures and exploration of relevant ancient sites, including special openings of the tombs of Nefertari, Ramesses II and Seti I.


What made this course special


Course description

Usually overshadowed in modern times by the better-known intrigues of the Eighteenth Dynasty, the Ramesside period represents a fascinating continuation of artistic, religious, and political themes developed during the earlier phase of the New Kingdom. Founded by a general of non-royal birth, Paramessu, the first to call himself a Ramesses, the Nineteenth Dynasty saw the maximum expansion of Egyptian empire to the south and north, as well as internal conflicts with rivals to the throne, including the rise to power late in the period of one of Egypt's only female pharaohs, Tawosret. The great warrior pharaohs Seti I and Ramesses II were prodigious builders, and this course allows a rare chance to consider in detail a wealth of historic and artistic sources of the period, encompassing royal tombs (such as the extraordinary tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings, and Nefertari's peerless tomb in the Valley of the Queens), shrines, quarries, and temples. We will closely examine the reign of Merneptah as well (in particular his funerary temple at Thebes), and consider the evidence for the Exodus within the context of international relations. Through a close look at nobles' tombs of the period, as well as village life at Deir el-Medina and elsewhere, the course will bring to life a period rich in colorful stories, innovative images, internal strife, warfare, and diplomacy.


About the Course Director

Dr Stephen Harvey taught our highly successful BSS in Egypt courses on Abydos in 2012 and Pyramids in 2014. He has been Director of the Ahmose and Tetisheri Project since 1993, excavating the monumental complex of King Ahmose at Abydos. This will be a fantastic opportunity to hear this distinguished Egyptologist give a week of lectures in Egypt.


Course programme

Day 1
Fly from Heathrow to Luxor. Check in to 5* Winter Palace Garden Pavillion for 5 nights

Day 2
Visit the West Bank temples of Seti I (‘Qurna Temple’), Ramesses II (Ramesseum) and Merneptah
Lunch included
Lecture 1: Sons of Seth: The Rise of the Ramessides
Welcome Dinner

Day 3
Visit the tombs of Ramesses II and Seti I in the Valley of the Kings (both special openings) and up to an additional 5 tombs of 19th dynasty pharaohs depending on which are open on the day
Lunch included
Lecture 2: Tombs of Kings, Queens, and Royal Children: Diversity and Transition in Ramesside Royal Burials
Lecture 3: The Workmen: Artistic Production, Community, and Individuality

Day 4
Visit the tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens (special opening), Deir el-Medina (+ up to 3 of the tombs at this site), and the Tombs of the Nobles: Neferenpet (TT178), Nefersekheru (TT296), Userhet (TT51) and Khonsu
Lunch included
Lecture 4: Gender and Power: Ramesside Women in Focus
Lecture 5: The Courts of Ramesses II and Sety I

Day 5
Visit the 19th dynasty shrines and stelae in the sandstone quarries on the west bank at Gebel el-Silsila, and Seti I’s small rock-cut temple at Kanais (special opening)
Lunch box included
Lecture 6: Ramesside Foreign Relations: Expansion, Constraints, and Source Problems
Lecture 7: Restoration and Innovation: Architecture and Building Under Sety I

Day 6
Visit Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple. Lunch box included on drive to Abydos. Check into 4* House of Life Hotel, close to Seti I’s temple at Abydos
Dinner included
Lecture 8: King to God: Ramesses II, Nefertary, and the Royal Image
Lecture 9: Architecture and Design in the Later 19th Dynasty

Day 7
Visit the Abydos temples of Seti I and Ramesses II, and the Ramesside temple remains at Kom el-Sultan (special opening)
Lunch box included on drive back to Luxor
Check in to 5* Winter Palace Garden Pavilion for 1 night
Lecture 10: Relief, Ritual, and Reality: Reading the Scenes in the Temples of Abydos
Farewell Dinner (included).

Day 8
Fly from Luxor to Heathrow


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